"Dockless" rental e-bikes - who charges them?

I was in San Diego this weekend, and the numbers of “dockless” ride-share e-bikes and e-scooters was astounding. There were lots of LimeBike-e’s and LimeBike-s scooters, as well as scooters from Bird, and probably more. They were just all over the place. I tried a regular LimeBike for the first time, but it was harder to find a regular bike than the e-bikes.

I was curious about who charges these. I’ve looked on the web for how they work and how they charge, but I only find sites that tell you how to use the app on your phone to rent one.

I was also curious about the electronics on the regular LimeBikes and other brands - they have to have a radio to talk to the cell phone network for their Internet connection, and for running the GPS receiver, and for switching the lock. Do these recharge by sucking a little bit of energy out of your pedals or regenerative braking?

The lime bikes just started appearing in down town San Diego in the last month or two. There are at least 4 different bike rental systems. The first one that has been around for about 2 years is Deco bike. I often see the Deco bike trucks moving the bikes from where they collect to other points around town. The Deco bikes are not electric like the lime bikes, but they have specific bike racks all around town where you are supposed to leave them when you are done. The lime bikes and the yellow and orange ones look like they have lock controlled by cell phone apps so they don’t need to be dropped off anywhere specific. I will keep an eye out for trucks picking up those new bikes.

This article about LimeBike-e says: " LimeBike’s staff will be roaming around and refreshing batteries in between rides."

Thanks for the article - you buried the lede there though!

bolding mine…

I’ve seen the swap occur a couple of times and it is pretty slick. Maybe 10secs at each bike - special tool enabled.

That being said, the bikes are not really eBikes as some others are, they are really eAssist. I took one for a half hour spin the other day and ended up charging the battery by 10% (71% to 81% per the app). That is primarily becuase I normally bike at 22-25 mph and the eAssist only goes to 15mph which was too slow for me so I ended up charging it- other than a fun little mile uphill at the end which was incredibly enjoyable with the battery and motor finally kicking in.